Shepherd’s Purse bids for Group Two glory in Paris

Joe Murphy’s charge hoping to emulate former stable companion Vert De Grece’s recent success

 Declan McDonogh riding Maarek (white cap) to win The Duke Of York Clipper Logistics Stakes at York in May. Photo: Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images

Declan McDonogh riding Maarek (white cap) to win The Duke Of York Clipper Logistics Stakes at York in May. Photo: Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images

 
Billy LeeJoe Murphy

Shepherd’s Purse lines up for the Criterium De Maisons-Laffitte just five days after his former stable companion Vert De Grece landed the Group One Criterium International at Saint-Cloud for his new trainer Roger Varian.

Murphy had saddled Vert De Grece for his first three starts in Ireland but Shepherd’s Purse remains his and lines up against ten opponents in the six furlong juvenile event which has also attracted Richard Hannon’s Parsley and the Tim Easterby trained Mattmu.

Gary Carroll is on board Shepherd’s Purse for a third time but Billy Lee gets a first spin on Maarek, handled by Murphy’s fellow-Fethard based trainer Evanna McCutcheon, in the Prix de Seine-Et-Oise over five furlongs.

Maarek enjoyed his finest moment in last year’s Prix de l’Abbaye at Longchamp but hasn’t won since winning at York in May and has to concede weight all round, including to his rival Catcall who will be ridden by Olivier Peslier.

Maarek’s opposition today includes David Elsworth’s Ascot Listed winner Justice Day.

There could also be Irish interest in Paris this Saturday when Europe’s final juvenile Group One of the season, the Criterium De Saint-Cloud, is run over ten furlongs. A total of nine Aidan O’Brien trained entries are among the 22 currently remaining in the €250,000 contest, including the highly-rated pair of Giovanni Canaletto and Sir Isaac Newton.

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